Video: Herman Cain on the right of return

posted at 8:54 pm on May 23, 2011 by Allahpundit

D.G. Myers of Commentary thought it was a huge gaffe, Jonah Goldberg was “underwhelmed” by Cain’s performance, and Jim Geraghty thought the resulting kerfuffle over the “right of return” answer was much ado about nothing. I’m somewhere between Myers and Goldberg. Jim’s right that this is, for 90+ percent of the public, a boutique issue that won’t affect how they vote. It’s hardly disqualifying. But then he says:

All Cain’s comment did was reveal that he hasn’t given more than a moment’s thought to what the Palestinians — you know, the folks who elected Hamas to run their government and who danced on 9/11 — are demanding. I suppose that if you cling to the idea that only thing holding back peace in our time is a sufficient number of White House all-nighters on creative cartography, then yes, you would want a president familiar with “right of return” and the whole cavalcade of Palestinian demands. If you think the root of the problem is a culture that celebrates suicide bombers more than doctors and entrepreneurs, then this looks like small potatoes; all the presidential familiarity in the world with the “right of return” argument won’t make much difference.

It’s one thing to hear the argument and to rule it out as a red herring, it’s another never to have heard it in the first place — in which case, how can you make the sort of bold pronouncements about Israeli/Palestinian negotiations that Cain’s making here? Watch what he says at the very end of the clip, after he blanks on the phrase “right of return.” Quote: “I don’t think they [i.e. Israel] have a big problem with people returning.” Really? They have an existential problem with people returning, actually; Bibi himself made that point in the course of his now-famous lecture in the Oval Office last week. Cain obviously cares passionately about this issue, but then so do a lot of conservatives and yet somehow they’ve seen fit to acquaint themselves with the “right of return.” Are the writers at Commentary, say, poorer advocates for Israel because they know the Palestinians’ arguments? Was Bush?

This wasn’t the only case where Cain took a de facto pass on foreign policy either:

GOP presidential hopeful Herman Cain said Sunday he doesn’t have a plan for the war on terror and won’t share his thoughts with voters until he gets into the White House.

“The right approach is that the day I’m elected, I would start on that plan,” he told “Fox Sunday News.”

Mr. Cain, former Godfather’s Pizza CEO, said he can’t make those decisions until he sees intelligence files that he is not privy to at this point.

How would an Obama/Cain presidential debate on foreign policy and counterterrorism proceed if he can’t outline a plan until he’s sworn in and starts getting CIA briefings? As Reason’s Mike Riggs recently noted, there’s an odd dynamic here where on the one hand Cain is modest almost to a fault about making any commitments abroad until he has maximum information from U.S. intel, and on the other hand he’s fiercely pro-Israel despite seemingly not knowing the most basic basics about the Palestinians’ most basic demands. Why?

I’m curious to see where commenters come down on the Myers/Goldberg/Geraghty spectrum. There were a lot of facepalms in yesterday’s Headlines thread about this, but whether that’s because people agree with my take here or whether our very large, very strong Palin constituency is eager to score points on Cain before he poses a serious threat in Iowa, I don’t know. Let’s find out!


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If anything, Cain should have been better prepared to answer, what appears to be a simple foreign policy question.

Kini on May 23, 2011 at 9:34 PM

I imagine he was as surprised as anyone at the level of support he received after the debate.

faraway on May 23, 2011 at 9:38 PM

Look, I’m just a news junkie with conservative leanings, neither pundit nor professor, a guy who happens to scan headlines and read blogs and the like, but even I know what the ‘right of return’ is about, along with some knowledge of the history and root causes of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I also know it is possible to formulate a high-level strategy on key foreign and domestic policy matters like, say, combating terrorism, without receiving in-depth daily briefings from the CIA. Such a strategy would be just that, a strategy, a big-picture approach, not a detailed plan. That Herman Cain doesn’t know these things is troubling, to say the least.

Whatever else President Obama’s failings, he has the gift of spouting nonsense with authority. He may not know what he’s talking about–the economy, energy policy, healthcare, you name it–but he manages to project an aura of assurance that he has mastery of the subject and is not, in fact, completely out of his depth.

Herman Cain may be a good man of solid character, competent and capable in business, but he just doesn’t have the stuff to be President.

troyriser_gopftw on May 23, 2011 at 9:39 PM

You want me not to care at all about my own audience?

Allahpundit on May 23, 2011 at 9:30 PM

He likes us! He really likes us!

:)

alwaysfiredup on May 23, 2011 at 9:39 PM

Why would I care what my own readers think? You want me not to care at all about my own audience?

Allahpundit on May 23, 2011 at 9:30 PM

YEAH! You gotta be more like a disinterested stand-up comedian who thinks his audience is beneath him… like George Carlin…

Skywise on May 23, 2011 at 9:40 PM

the press will ask him foreign policy question after question now. It has exposed a wweakness and the MSM will use it to hammer him with…

unseen on May 23, 2011 at 9:32 PM

Yeah but that could be a good thing.

He gets six or more months of questioning from the press and the punditry so he can educate himself and gets baptised before primary season.

catmman on May 23, 2011 at 9:40 PM

No one else has the stardust like Huntsman. Things change when he walks into a room. I’ve been in one of those rooms. He’s going to catch on like wildfire. You heard here first.

Reagan Republican on May 23, 2011 at 9:37 PM

whatever you say dude…

ted c on May 23, 2011 at 9:42 PM

No one else has the stardust like Huntsman. Things change when he walks into a room. I’ve been in one of those rooms. He’s going to catch on like wildfire. You heard here first.

Reagan Republican on May 23, 2011 at 9:37 PM

Please god tell me you forgot the sarc tag…

catmman on May 23, 2011 at 9:42 PM

AP: Whether or not you were trying to inject Palin into this, your post does incite her supporters. You’re not calling out Palin, but you are implying (if not outright saying) that Palin supporters ‘hope Cain fails’.

When you do this, you are being intellectually lazy, if not dishonest.

Scott H on May 23, 2011 at 9:43 PM

CTSherman on May 23, 2011 at 9:38 PM

No I am not part of no label group… I supported Palin at one time and since Mitch Daniels my candidate isn’t running I have decided that Jon Huntsman is the best GOP candidate in the field so far.

This is a guy that the white house is REALLY scared of.

I actually think he quit to serve the office of the presidency and not Obama personally.

TimeTraveler on May 23, 2011 at 9:43 PM

I was strongly considering Cain, but Israel is a big deal for me, and I would rather we have someone in charge who understands the basic issues on this and other matters of foreign policy. Bummer.

tikvah on May 23, 2011 at 9:43 PM

I like Herman Cain, but I will vote for someone who is solid on foreign policy, unlike Nobama.

Pres. Jackass has embarrassed this nation and insulted our allies waaaay too many times. Enough is enough.

And no T-Paw for me.

Philly on May 23, 2011 at 9:44 PM

The “right to return” issue was hard for me to grasp too when I heard about it; the “land swaps” is a concept that I can’t fully understand because I haven’t sat down in front of a map and really get the grisp, until Rush mentioned what I have heard since I was a child:

Same analogy can be applied when Cuba gets rid of their Castros and communism; Cuban community in Puerto Rico (HUGE) and in FLA say at least a third of them they want to return to Cuba to their properties that are still there, and families that are still living there. They want to return to the island after they fled, sailed, and found means to come to this country.

Now, when push comes to shove will Cubans actually do this? After enjoying the comforts of living here, raising their families and having great businesses, just pack and leave? I don’t really think so.

That is not the case with Palestine; these people can fetch a nice spot in another big country, Jordan. Wars Rule 101: War for land=if you win it, you keep it. If you lose it, get out of it.

Their terroristic plan is simple: Get rid of little satan first then big satan. That’s their agenda, plain and simple. Cut off all funding to foreign countries (I include on this one Israel b/c of fiscal crisis) and trade would work better in the long run.

BUT Israel is still God’s country, God’s army and if they keep pushing and shoving (O included) we’ll get the spankin’ from God. If we’re not with Israel we’re not with God.

That’s my POV. Now off to mom duty and bedtime. Goodnight.

ProudPalinFan on May 23, 2011 at 9:44 PM

why am i getting the sense that there is some faux “jon huntsman” presence around here??

ted c on May 23, 2011 at 9:44 PM

i’d vote for cain.

ted c on May 23, 2011 at 9:45 PM

troyriser: So you like style over substance?

You would rather someone be dishonest with his own constituents?

Well, you can’t go wrong with Obama, then.

Yes, Cain needs work. But that doesn’t require such antics.

Scott H on May 23, 2011 at 9:45 PM

No one else has the stardust like Huntsman. Things change when he walks into a room. I’ve been in one of those rooms. He’s going to catch on like wildfire. You heard here first.

Reagan Republican on May 23, 2011 at 9:37 PM

wow I don’t know if I should LOL or gag.

unseen on May 23, 2011 at 9:46 PM

TimeTraveler: I couldn’t care less who the WH is ‘scared of’. That is just another method of letting them choose your candidate.

For the arena that Huntsman comes from, we have better people for it.

I will never vote for someone who served in an Obama administration, no matter how well-intentioned they were.

Scott H on May 23, 2011 at 9:48 PM

Reagan Republican on May 23, 2011 at 9:37 PM

i agree with you he doesn’t seem stiff like Tim Paw or Mitt Romney.

TimeTraveler on May 23, 2011 at 9:48 PM

I thought the contiguous state remark was very glaring. I don’t know how you do that. There used to be an East and West Pakistan…but no more

And the border business is just barry doing his 57 states thing. Israel borders Lebanon on the North and, via the Golan Heights, with Syria.

So what about the Golan Heights, barry? The 67 borders would include that also. So is that going to the New Palestine? Or Syria? But if it is Palestine, then the contiguous part would link the Golan Heights and Gaza with the West Bank……hello? barry? hello?

r keller on May 23, 2011 at 9:48 PM

You want intellectually lazy? Here’s a test:

Ask a Palin supporter what they’ll do if she doesn’t run (doesn’t win the nomination, whatever).

Ask a Herr Doktor supporter the same question and they’ll tell you almost to a man they’ll stay home, won’t vote, whatever.

That’s ‘lazy’.

catmman on May 23, 2011 at 9:49 PM

keller: My Indian subcontinent geography is a bit rusty, but didn’t East Pakistan turn into Bangladesh?

Scott H on May 23, 2011 at 9:50 PM

AP: Whether or not you were trying to inject Palin into this, your post does incite her supporters. You’re not calling out Palin, but you are implying (if not outright saying) that Palin supporters ‘hope Cain fails’.

How does it “incite” her supporters to say that they want him to fail? They want all of her competition to fail, just as Romney’s and Pawlenty’s supporters want their competition to fail. That’s politics. This is what I mean about some of Palin’s backers almost looking for excuses to take offense. Simple fact: The worse Cain does, the better her chances are in Iowa. Nothing untoward about it.

Allahpundit on May 23, 2011 at 9:50 PM

It’s not. You’re just not allowed to mention Palin in a way that’s not overwhelmingly positive. Even a neutral reference, as in my post, fails the test. Ace has simply reached his breaking point with that logic.
Allahpundit on May 23, 2011 at 9:11 PM

Could you link 2 or 3 of your recent “overwhelmingly positive” Palin posts?

I must have missed those…

Lol.

cs89 on May 23, 2011 at 9:51 PM

No way! Give me the positions that support those ridiculous assertions you just made and I might reconsider.

He served Obama…one of the few GOP to do so…and I don’t think he did any good for our nation in China.

1. He cut taxes as Governor of Utah. 2 full terms. 80% approval rating when he left office.
2. He opposes Obama internationalism in Libya.
3. He supports carbon reduction but not cap and trade.
4. He opposes gay marriage, but favors equivalent civil unions.

Huntsman can beat Obama. His service to our country was honorable. And don’t forget that this issue is a two-way street: Obama will have to acknowledge that Huntsman was not too extreme to serve in his administration.

Reagan Republican on May 23, 2011 at 9:51 PM

catmman: As a Palin supporter, I’d vote for Cain, Bachmann, or Pawlenty if Palin didn’t run. I won’t vote for Romney, Huntsman, or similar candidates to them.

However, even if every Palin supporter was intellectually lazy in this regard, that doesn’t excuse AP’s laziness.

Scott H on May 23, 2011 at 9:52 PM

You know, if you follow the specialty blogs on Israel, many of them have been very critical of the lack of knowledge displayed by high-profile conservatives from Reagan to Sarah Palin. Even from a less specialized perspective, Palin has flubbed the particulars of history and policy statements on Israel-Palestine. So has Huckabee. So have others.

It’s understandable that Cain doesn’t get the same benefit of the doubt, because he has no history in politics. People don’t know if he’s got a sense for the “right answer.” This will be a test, I think.

FWIW, I don’t think he has a prayer of getting the nomination. But this won’t be the showstopper. In the realm of foreign and security policy, his downfall looks like it may be a refusal to articulate principles about foreign relations and the war on terror, which he should do even before he’s had “classified briefings” on Afghanistan. One thing I know for sure: the classified intelligence shouldn’t change the principles a leader operates by. That’s what voters quite correctly want to hear from him.

J.E. Dyer on May 23, 2011 at 9:52 PM

1. He cut taxes as Governor of Utah. 2 full terms. 80% approval rating when he left office.
2. He opposes Obama internationalism in Libya.
3. He supports carbon reduction but not cap and trade.
4. He opposes gay marriage, but favors equivalent civil unions.

Huntsman can beat Obama. His service to our country was honorable. And don’t forget that this issue is a two-way street: Obama will have to acknowledge that Huntsman was not too extreme to serve in his administration.

Reagan Republican on May 23, 2011 at 9:52 PM

I was strongly considering Cain, but Israel is a big deal for me, and I would rather we have someone in charge who understands the basic issues on this and other matters of foreign policy. Bummer.

tikvah on May 23, 2011 at 9:43 PM

So you’d forget him for not knowing something now. What if he educated himself on the subject?

The primaries aren’t until next February for cripes sake!

catmman on May 23, 2011 at 9:53 PM

I like cain but i’m close to myers…you gotta give us something before hand capisce?

cmsinaz on May 23, 2011 at 9:53 PM

I haven’t even bothered to create a Cain bookmark folder yet.

Connie on May 23, 2011 at 9:53 PM

I really liked Herman Cain before that interview. I had voted for him in each of the Hotair polls but not knowing the term “Right of Return” in regards to the Israel-Palestine Conflict is really inexcusable. It’s not a term that just popped up and he hadn’t had time to familiarize himself with the topic. This has been an issue for a very long time.

Very bummed.

rmel80 on May 23, 2011 at 9:55 PM

AP: Well, you certainly don’t understand me, and I am a Palin supporter because I believe she is the best for America. The second I don’t believe that, I won’t support her anymore.

I am not playing a “Palin FTW or I’m going home” game by any stretch of the imagination. I am playing a “Conservative FTW or I’m going home” game. I want America to win the 2012 election, and the actual candidate is secondary.

If you think this is looking for offenses, I am sorry. However, I would think that good customer service would err on the side of politeness. Please note that I am not asking you to be polite to Palin herself; she is a politician. Simply as a sign of good customer relations, though, I think that you would check to make sure that you do not give unwarranted offense to people who come to your site.

Scott H on May 23, 2011 at 9:57 PM

No one else has the stardust like Huntsman. Things change when he walks into a room. I’ve been in one of those rooms. He’s going to catch on like wildfire. You heard here first.

Reagan Republican on May 23, 2011 at 9:37 PM

Is this a new variable we should be considering while evaluating potential candidates? “I don’t know, they’re solid on the issues, compelling personal story, but lacking… stardust. Alas.” :)

Bee on May 23, 2011 at 9:59 PM

“Should Prime Minister Netanyahu suggest we return to our 1845 borders before the annexation of the southwest of the United States during the Mexican-American War? Should we give back parts of Texas, New Mexico, and California? – Sarah Palin”

unseen on May 23, 2011 at 9:25 PM

Bibi doesn’t have to…

… It’s already been done.

Seven Percent Solution on May 23, 2011 at 10:00 PM

However, even if every Palin supporter was intellectually lazy in this regard, that doesn’t excuse AP’s laziness.

Scott H on May 23, 2011 at 9:52 PM

I’m still not understanding the ‘lazy’ accusation.

He’s lazy because he doesn’t post glowing oratory supporting Palin? Or because he doesn’t like the fact many Palin supporters could see her sacrifice puppies and they’d still love her?

Palin supporters should take a lesson from those who follow the Most High and Exalted Herr Doktor on how to NOT go about supporting your guy.

catmman on May 23, 2011 at 10:00 PM

Reagan Republican: He served Obama. That is a bridge too far in my book, full stop.

I believe the way we lose the 2012 election is to fail to energize our base. ANY Republican candidate for office will be called extreme by the media. Therefore, Huntsman working for Obama is a net depressive effect on the base, and too risky from an electoral position without even considering the ethical issues involved.

Scott H on May 23, 2011 at 10:00 PM

Well AllahP, I tend to agree with J.E. Dyer on this

J.E. Dyer on May 23, 2011 at 9:21 PM

And I’d also point out an important nuance that you may have missed owing to your most likely eye-popping reaction to Cain’s ignorance on the “right of return”.

Paraphrasing an exchange between he and Wallace:

Wallace: “What will President Cain offer the Palestinians to come back to the table?”

Cain: “I’d offer them nothing!“, after which he went on to point out that the Palestinians have been fundamentally acting in bad faith for decades now, and how matters like that should be left to the Israelis and Palestinians, who, you know, are the ones actually doing the negotiating!

He pointed out that the best the US can do is facilitate such negotiation.

Now regardless of anything else he said in the interview, he gets BIG points for candor and for articulating a conservative position; that the US can aid, but not dictate to our allies in matters of foreign policy.

So he’s got that going for him. He’s a smart guy; the kind that Adams and Jefferson often referred to as “aristoi” who would step forward to lead when needed, as opposed to the professional politicians that by and large populate the halls of government. I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt personally.

My Regards

RocketmanBob on May 23, 2011 at 10:02 PM

Reagan Republican on May 23, 2011 at 9:52 PM

Well, that…duh.

That and …THE STARDUST!

catmman on May 23, 2011 at 10:03 PM

Why does it bother people here and certain bloggers that Palin has fervent supporters who are informed about her and willing to defend her name, record, and right to run for president like the other boys? It’s like they resent that she has a strong core of support willing to do what they were too cowardly to do when she was unfairly being maligned like no other political figure since Bush.

I think what is getting to people like Ace and AP is that the guy they were counting on to keep Palin from the nomination, Mike Huckabee is not running, so now Palin really does have a chance to win and so they are moping around complaining about Palin’s supporters. Palin supporters were cool when Huckabee was sure to run and she had no chance, now that she has a clear path to the nomination, I guess we are not cool anymore.

milemarker2020 on May 23, 2011 at 10:03 PM

Each candidate has flaws, you just have to pick which flaw you want.

knob on May 23, 2011 at 9:07 PM

Yeah well “trust me” on foreign policy is just a bit too much to ask. We could be trusting him right into disaster!

He is interviewing for a job. That job is by definition, making foreign policy for this country.

Issues of war, peace, trade, allies, enemies, money lending, borders, and all those things will be his job!

When he gave the non-answer about Afghanistan, he refused to answer, because he didn’t have enough information, about a ten year long war!

I was at least hopeful he got the message that he is required to tell us… his foreign policy stands. He must think about it long and hard and hit the books and get some advisers… we can not begin to decide his qualification if he doesn’t have answers to our questions! Basic questions!

Now, he shoots his mouth off about Israel, yet he doesn’t have a clue what the issues are. He likes Israel. Well that’s great, I could have said that.

I want my President to be better informed than I am, thank you very much.

Besides, his answer about the bus was cliche when Romney said it. But I at least believe Romney had a clue! Cain is just copying Romney!

This is two strikes. And both on foreign policy.

petunia on May 23, 2011 at 10:04 PM

Cain needs to bow out.

-Aslan’s Girl

Aslans Girl on May 23, 2011 at 10:04 PM

If nothing else, catmman, it’s painting with far too liberal a brush. I would like him to be very harsh on Palin; someone has to be.

However, he’s gone from being harsh on Palin to being harsh on her supporters. In at least one case (mine), it’s also a false accusation. If the straw poll Patrick Ishmael does monthly is representative, that means he’s at least inadvertently giving offense to a plurality of his clientele.

Of course, many Palin supporters are far too zealous in their hagiography. However, overgeneralizations are an example of lazy thinking. And that’s why I’m calling it as I see it.

Scott H on May 23, 2011 at 10:05 PM

Palin is unelectable and shouldn’t discussed for a possible nomination by the party.

I have nothing against Palin but those are just the facts and folks have to live with that.

TimeTraveler on May 23, 2011 at 10:05 PM

Hooboy. I was feeling pretty darn good about Cain. Now I’m beginning to wonder if he’s up to it. It’s not just the “right of return” thing, it’s the entire “can’t comment on foreign policy until I’m President” thing. Obviously getting into detailed specifics would be a bad idea — just look what that did for Obama. But that doesn’t mean he can’t tell us which way he leans on this or that issue. And if he expects anyone to vote for him without having a good idea what his foreign policy chops are, he’s nuts. I don’t think he’s nuts, so I’m assuming he’s just ill-prepared and dodging. That’s not good.

Unless Cain sharpens up in a hurry, Pawlenty will be the last man standing in my book.

Sigh. I picked a bad year to quit drinking.

Splashman on May 23, 2011 at 10:06 PM

Scott H on May 23, 2011 at 10:00 PM

well said

cmsinaz on May 23, 2011 at 10:06 PM

Cain needs to bow out.

Aslans Girl on May 23, 2011 at 10:04 PM

Why?

Bee on May 23, 2011 at 10:09 PM

TimeTraveler: I’m sorry, but electability is not a criterion I use to judge the candidates I want in office.

BTW, that’s a nice proof by assertion. It’s rather easy to do.

Scott H on May 23, 2011 at 10:10 PM

Scott H on May 23, 2011 at 10:05 PM

I understand that. Thanks for clarifying.

The problem is when he is hard on Palin (and when he is not as he points out), some of her more over-zealous supporters take it as a personal affront and then you get comments like the one up a few bordering on calling people who are Palin critical misogynists.

One must simply have thicker skin than is demonstrated from time to time.

catmman on May 23, 2011 at 10:11 PM

Huntsman can beat Obama. His service to our country was honorable. And don’t forget that this issue is a two-way street: Obama will have to acknowledge that Huntsman was not too extreme to serve in his administration.

Reagan Republican on May 23, 2011 at 9:52 PM

You’ve convinced me to keep an open mind. I just don’t know enough about him, yet.

John the Libertarian on May 23, 2011 at 10:11 PM

John the Libertarian on May 23, 2011 at 10:11 PM

The stardust…it’s spreading.

Bee on May 23, 2011 at 10:13 PM

RocketmanBob on May 23, 2011 at 10:02 PM

Good points, RocketmanBob. I’d forgotten Cain’s reaction on the “what would you offer them” question, which was refreshingly blunt.

We’ll see. I’ve been reading through this thread and seeing a lot about Hunstman lighting up a room, and thinking “I’d rather have the most boring guy in the hemisphere with the personality of a garden slug, if he’ll just make sound decisions and not cave on principle every third time at bat.” I may be wrong about this, but I don’t think the 2012 campaign/election will be about glamor or excitement. I think people have had enough of that, and they’d kill for some “real” and “tough.” Even if the package it comes in isn’t the standard-issue polished rock.

J.E. Dyer on May 23, 2011 at 10:14 PM

Bee on May 23, 2011 at 10:09 PM

Because anyone who runs for POTUS has to, you know, know some things. How he can be the age he is and the conservative he is and not know about “right of return” is utterly embarrassing. I’ve known what “right of return” was since I was 13 freaking years old! On top of that, he outright says he has no idea what his foreign policy is? Good God, man. This is the height of ignorance and I can’t watch him embarrass himself any longer. I actually blush for him. It also shows a lot of arrogance: he thinks he can know so little and run for the most powerful office in the world?! Boy, he really thinks highly of himself.

-Aslan’s Girl

Aslans Girl on May 23, 2011 at 10:16 PM

Scott H. wrote:

troyriser: So you like style over substance?

You would rather someone be dishonest with his own constituents?

Well, you can’t go wrong with Obama, then.

Yes, Cain needs work. But that doesn’t require such antics.

‘Style over substance’? Please. What substance? Cain is uninformed on basic and essential foreign policy issues. He also doesn’t know that one doesn’t need daily briefings from the intelligence community to establish an overall approach guiding the development of detailed plans by policy wonks who specialize in that sort of thing. And since you brought it up, yes, let’s talk about style: I’ve seen two of Cain’s speeches, and he comes across as unpolished, not ready for prime time.

The idea, Scott, is to win over independent voters straddling the middle. Do this, and we win. That doesn’t mean compromising core principles or watering down the message; rather, it entails bringing the middle to us by force of reason and the power of ideas. Should Cain win the GOP nomination and ultimately debate Obama, he would almost certainly be asked about his plans to combat terrorism. What then? Or what if Cain fumbles yet another very basic foreign policy question? I strongly doubt a huge swath of independent voters will decide to vote for Cain because he is as uninformed as they are.

troyriser_gopftw on May 23, 2011 at 10:16 PM

The stardust…it’s spreading.

Bee on May 23, 2011 at 10:13 PM

Can you sprinkle it on cupcakes?

catmman on May 23, 2011 at 10:16 PM

Regarding Cain’s “right of return” faux pas…

Yes… it disturbs me that he wasn’t familiar with the term. Especially given Netanyahu’s detailed history lesson and statement on the topic just a few days prior.

What bothers me more though… is that in not knowing what it meant, he still gave an answer.

While it is admirable that he’s willing and able to admit now that he didn’t know what “right of return” meant when asked, this admission highlights the fact that he voiced an opinion of the topic when he didn’t know what he was talking about.

powerpro on May 23, 2011 at 10:17 PM

This wasn’t my first disappointment with Cain, but it was my last. I don’t hold out any hope for him after this. What hope I did have was first tarnished by his Fair Tax pipe dream. The Fair Tax is a fine idea that will never happen and to sell a candidacy on it is a non-starter for that reason. So, his fiscal answer is fatally flawed and he is basically ignorant about foreign affairs. What’s left?

MJBrutus on May 23, 2011 at 10:17 PM

catmman: Sure, and you can find any number of threads where I’ve called them out on it, as well.

But… every time you give offense to someone that you are going to need to win the general election (I rather doubt anyone is going to suggest that if the Palin supporters by and large stay home Obama can be beaten?), you give them one more reason to not participate in that election. Is that rational? No. Is that human? Very.

It’s not good business sense. It’s not good electoral sense. It just doesn’t seem to gain anything if your goal is to unseat Obama.

Scott H on May 23, 2011 at 10:18 PM

troy: Certainly, Cain needs work. However, you gave credit to Obama for basically being able to lie with an absolutely straight face.

I give no one any credit to do that.

I also disagree with your electoral strategy. Let the independents figure out for themselves who to vote for. You are courting people who by their own choice are wishy-washy.

I believe that, given the current Administration, energizing the base is the key to electoral victory. Tell the independents they can either continue supporting the utter failure we have in the White House right now, or they can choose to replace him with whoever our candidate turns out to be. Those are their choices. If they choose to sit at home, then the electoral battle becomes even more one of energizing the base.

Scott H on May 23, 2011 at 10:22 PM

Even from a less specialized perspective, Palin has flubbed the particulars of history and policy statements on Israel-Palestine.

J.E. Dyer on May 23, 2011 at 9:52 PM

JE, may I ask what Palin has said about Israel and Palestine that was inaccurate? I recall she got some pushback for wanting Israeli settlements to expand, but I thought she was ultimately vindicated on her predictions of Israeli immigration.

alwaysfiredup on May 23, 2011 at 10:27 PM

Scott H on May 23, 2011 at 10:18 PM

Yeah, but there is no need to kiss anyone’s arse either simply to placate their ego.

If your political support for someone hinges on how a blog author feels about your guy then you’re the one with issues. (not pointing you out specifically just making the statement.)

catmman on May 23, 2011 at 10:28 PM

They started a war in 1948 and lost. End of story.

Do Americans have the ‘Right Of Return’ to England? What about those of Scottish descent driven from the land?

sharrukin on May 23, 2011 at 9:17 PM

I think the war was several millenia ago. They started a war and lost. End of story?

unclesmrgol on May 23, 2011 at 10:29 PM

Cain needs to bow out.

-Aslan’s Girl

Aslans Girl on May 23, 2011 at 10:04 PM

Yes. His style has always reminded me a bit of the Huckster. A little too much the showman.

a capella on May 23, 2011 at 10:29 PM

Sad to say it, but Herman’s not ready. Maybe he can get up to speed by primary time, but he sure has shot himself in the foot. I think this weekends gaffs may have ended his chances. Has he been hangning with Newt?

JimP on May 23, 2011 at 10:31 PM

Boy, he really thinks highly of himself.

Aslans Girl on May 23, 2011 at 10:16 PM

He’s achieved more in his little finger than many ever will, certainly more than our current CIC. Read his bio. He loves his country and his fellow Americans and has a vision for our way forward. I can understand your reasons for not supporting him, I’m sure I’ll have my own. But to call his desire to serve his country in this capacity, to lead, to realize the American dream something akin to arrogance is pretty outrageous.

Bee on May 23, 2011 at 10:33 PM

…but I don’t think the 2012 campaign/election will be about glamor or excitement. I think people have had enough of that, and they’d kill for some “real” and “tough.” Even if the package it comes in isn’t the standard-issue polished rock.

I concur J.E.,
I think one of the “unintended consequences” of Obama’s time as President will be to make it that much harder for charismatic empty suits to con the voters; since they’ll be far more familiar with that concept by the time 2012 comes around.

So that may be the one benefit of his Presidency :)

RocketmanBob on May 23, 2011 at 10:33 PM

I think the war was several millenia ago. They started a war and lost. End of story?

unclesmrgol on May 23, 2011 at 10:29 PM

Until the next war… yeah. The United States exists because the colonials took the land from the Indians who took the land from the people of Kennewick Man. Its a sad old world.

Is the existence of the United States immoral?

Get over it!

sharrukin on May 23, 2011 at 10:36 PM

Can you sprinkle it on cupcakes?

catmman on May 23, 2011 at 10:16 PM

Oh, heavens no. Stardust is much too potent to be consumed directly–we can only tolerate brief exposure. Kind of like Moses seeing only the back side of God on Sinai.

Bee on May 23, 2011 at 10:39 PM

Bee on May 23, 2011 at 10:33 PM

Yes, he’s achieved a lot in his life but unless he knows a decent amount about every issue, then he needs to run, not for something as general as POTUS, but for something more specialized lie Sec. of Treasury.

And it is arrogant to be ignorant of really important issues and still think you know enough to run for higher office; it shows you think way too highly of yourself and have an inflated ego. It’s why conservatives across the land opposed Harriet Myers for SCOTUS. And why I think Palin should never have run in ’08, but instead waited a few years.

-Aslan’s Girl

Aslans Girl on May 23, 2011 at 10:39 PM

You’ve convinced me to keep an open mind. I just don’t know enough about him, yet.

I think you’ll be pleased by what you discover.

Reagan Republican on May 23, 2011 at 10:41 PM

No one else has the stardust like Huntsman. Things change when he walks into a room. I’ve been in one of those rooms. He’s going to catch on like wildfire. You heard here first.

Reagan Republican on May 23, 2011 at 9:37 PM

Only in your and his mind, his ego too. He will be a note, at best.

Schadenfreude on May 23, 2011 at 10:44 PM

I don’t have a problem with Herman Cain generally, but I simply can’t comprehend a national candidate for the Presidency not understanding the term “right of return.”

I don’t expect perfection, especially this early on, but this failure is probably a deal killer for me because it suggests Cain lacks even the most basic understanding of the Arab-Israeli dispute. That’s just unacceptable in today’s world.

Blacksheep on May 23, 2011 at 10:45 PM

Kind of like Moses seeing only the back side of God on Sinai.

Bee on May 23, 2011 at 10:39 PM

Moses saw God’s rear end?

John the Libertarian on May 23, 2011 at 10:46 PM

I think you’ll be pleased by what you discover.

Reagan Republican on May 23, 2011 at 10:41 PM

His father is great. He is the 180 degrees opposite. RINO at best, but he is really a traitor to his party, then to Obama. Don’t trust him more than Richardson on the left, the former gov. of NM. Judases, both of them

Schadenfreude on May 23, 2011 at 10:46 PM

We know about as much about Cain at this point as we did about Obummer. Why do some people continue to jump on the next band wagon that comes down the pike? Can we get to know more about this guy before we crown him the next leader of the formerly free world.

Kissmygrits on May 23, 2011 at 10:49 PM

Well, that…duh.

That and …THE STARDUST!

Yes. Believe it or not, stardust has a place in presidential politics. Huntsman’s got it in spades. The guy is cool.

Reagan Republican on May 23, 2011 at 10:50 PM

America first Mr. Cain, America first

True_King on May 23, 2011 at 10:51 PM

Don’t trust him more than Richardson on the left, the former gov. of NM. Judases, both of them

One man’s Judas in another’s St. Paul.

Reagan Republican on May 23, 2011 at 10:53 PM

He does seem a little less than polished on FP.

OTOH, it’s a defensible position to say “Israel should decide” and Israel already has 1.5M Arab citizens. It’s not like none of them are Palestinian…

TallDave on May 23, 2011 at 10:53 PM

Moses saw God’s rear end?

John the Libertarian on May 23, 2011 at 10:46 PM

Oh yeah…and it was grade-A, unadulterated stardust.

Bee on May 23, 2011 at 10:53 PM

So that may be the one benefit of his Presidency :)

RocketmanBob on May 23, 2011 at 10:33 PM

I too agree and so all the noise about Cain is precisely all about this cult of personality rather than substance and accomplishment.

milemarker2020 on May 23, 2011 at 10:54 PM

I think you’ll be pleased by what you discover.

Reagan Republican on May 23, 2011 at 10:41 PM

I saw this comment and was going to reply: Stardust?

Then I saw this:

Yes. Believe it or not, stardust has a place in presidential politics. Huntsman’s got it in spades. The guy is cool.

Reagan Republican on May 23, 2011 at 10:50 PM

Self-parody is a riot!

catmman on May 23, 2011 at 10:55 PM

The guy is cool.

Reagan Republican on May 23, 2011 at 10:50 PM

Wow. Stardust and cool. He sounds dreamy, like everything I could ever want in a boyfriend president.

alwaysfiredup on May 23, 2011 at 10:58 PM

BUT Israel is still God’s country, God’s army and if they keep pushing and shoving (O included) we’ll get the spankin’ from God. If we’re not with Israel we’re not with God.

That’s my POV. Now off to mom duty and bedtime. Goodnight.

ProudPalinFan on May 23, 2011 at 9:44 PM

Toooo much John Hagee. Study and learn your heritage.

True_King on May 23, 2011 at 11:00 PM

I don’t like Cain, but I feel some people, particularly some Jews, are being overly harsh here. At my Reform synagogue, I wouldn’t be surprised if well over 3/4 of the people would get confused between Right of Return and Law of Return. I doubt that the Orthodox would do that much better. I was confused when I first heard about this, and Israel matters a lot to me. While I think Cain would lose to Obama and should not be the nominee, I think we should be fair to the man.

thuja on May 23, 2011 at 11:00 PM

Self-parody is a riot!

catmman on May 23, 2011 at 10:55 PM

Tell me, do you only throw rocks? Who do you support? What’s your plan to defeat Obama?

Reagan Republican on May 23, 2011 at 11:01 PM

thuja on May 23, 2011 at 11:00 PM

But, you and your “3/4″ aren’t running for POTUS.

Further, Cain did not confuse “Right of Return” with “Law of Return”, Wallace very clearly, and biasedly explained what he meant. And Cain still answered stupidly. Plus, I really can’t see how anyone could confuse those two terms, they mean COMPLETELY different things.

-Aslan’s Girl

Aslans Girl on May 23, 2011 at 11:04 PM

We know about as much about Cain at this point as we did about Obummer

No. Cain’s history isn’t shrouded, he’s not hiding anything, we know he’s truly conservative. The disappointing failure of not knowing what Right of Return is may indicate an unreadiness for the oval office, but please don’t equate him with Zero – he has nothing in common with Zero.

Eren on May 23, 2011 at 11:05 PM

No one else has the stardust like Huntsman. Things change when he walks into a room. I’ve been in one of those rooms. He’s going to catch on like wildfire. You heard here first.

Reagan Obama Republican on May 23, 2011 at 9:37 PM

Name 3 principles Huntsman has in common with Reagan.

AH_C on May 23, 2011 at 11:07 PM

Reagan Republican on May 23, 2011 at 11:01 PM

Dude, we get that Huntsman is your BFF … but seriously, he argued that the stimulus package was too small, supports a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, buys into the climate change nonsense and has supported cap-and-trade, and he supports civil unions for gays.

It’s going to take a lot of stardust.

Blacksheep on May 23, 2011 at 11:10 PM

Further, Cain did not confuse “Right of Return” with “Law of Return”, Wallace very clearly, and biasedly explained what he meant. And Cain still answered stupidly. Plus, I really can’t see how anyone could confuse those two terms, they mean COMPLETELY different things.

Aslans Girl on May 23, 2011 at 11:04 PM

I would think you are being sarcastic, but I have seen some of other posts. At the risk of stating the obvious, phrases that sound the same like “Right of Return” and “Law of Return” confuse people–even if they mean different things. It’s how human minds work.

thuja on May 23, 2011 at 11:11 PM

thuja on May 23, 2011 at 11:11 PM

Regardless, that isn’t what happened with Cain. Wallace told him what the term meant. Cain just had no idea at all and answered anyway.

-Aslan’s Girl

Aslans Girl on May 23, 2011 at 11:19 PM

Dude, we get that Huntsman is your BFF … but seriously, he argued that the stimulus package was too small, supports a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, buys into the climate change nonsense and has supported cap-and-trade, and he supports civil unions for gays.

It’s going to take a lot of stardust.

Blacksheep on May 23, 2011 at 11:10 PM

Well, good. But Huntsman doesn’t support cap and trade.

We need a settlement on immigration – like yesterday. It’s going to kill us in the future.

Reagan Republican on May 23, 2011 at 11:26 PM

Cain has only one chance to recover, and as a former high-level executive, he might have the moxie to do it. If he comes out and says – in effect – “Holy crap! Did I blow that one! I didn’t know the specifics of right of return, but now that I do…[etc].”

eeyore on May 23, 2011 at 11:35 PM

One thing I know for sure: the classified intelligence shouldn’t change the principles a leader operates by. That’s what voters quite correctly want to hear from him.

J.E. Dyer on May 23, 2011 at 9:52 PM

Totally agree. That’s why I’m willing to wait and hear more. I saw his interview w/Hannity and he’s already getting himself up to speed. The key is what principles does he operate by and now that he knows RoR, it didn’t change his position – essentially only Israel can decide the terms of negotiation and given that the Palis are Arabian pawns, not just no, but hell no will Israel concede the 67 lines.

PS. It would do him wonders to get schooled on FP/Defense by you and your circle ;)

Wallace: “What will President Cain offer the Palestinians to come back to the table?”

Cain: “I’d offer them nothing!“, after which he went on to point out that the Palestinians have been fundamentally acting in bad faith for decades now, and how matters like that should be left to the Israelis and Palestinians, who, you know, are the ones actually doing the negotiating!

He pointed out that the best the US can do is facilitate such negotiation.

Now regardless of anything else he said in the interview, he gets BIG points for candor and for articulating a conservative position; that the US can aid, but not dictate to our allies in matters of foreign policy.

So he’s got that going for him. He’s a smart guy; the kind that Adams and Jefferson often referred to as “aristoi” who would step forward to lead when needed, as opposed to the professional politicians that by and large populate the halls of government. I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt personally.

RocketmanBob on May 23, 2011 at 10:02 PM

EXACTLY. He is unabashedly pro-Israeli. I also appreciate that he will never appoint a muzzie to his cabinet. PC be damned.

Cain needs to bow out.

Aslans Girl on May 23, 2011 at 10:04 PM

Why?

Bee on May 23, 2011 at 10:09 PM

Indeed. Even back when Obambi was running, pro-Israelis knew he was trying to have his cake & eat it — namely Israel needs to do better while the Palis have bent over backwards. Yet the American Jews mostly threw in with the ‘Smart Power”

I still feel that Cain represents the Right Power, even if it’s something he doesn’t yet know about. Good that it’s happening now.

If he thot the election pivots on the economy, he’s now realizing that FP & defense is the primary duty of POTUS and that he needs to get up to speed.

AH_C on May 23, 2011 at 11:36 PM

No one else has the stardust like Huntsman. Things change when he walks into a room. I’ve been in one of those rooms. He’s going to catch on like wildfire. You heard here first.

Reagan Republican on May 23, 2011 at 9:37 PM

Smells like sulphur to me. Nice try, though.

Naturally Curly on May 23, 2011 at 11:36 PM

I am not playing a “Palin FTW or I’m going home” game by any stretch of the imagination. I am playing a “Conservative FTW or I’m going home” game. I want America to win the 2012 election, and the actual candidate is secondary.

Scott H on May 23, 2011 at 9:57 PM

^THIS. I will not vote for a RINO POTUS in 12. I will vote downticket GOP. I’d rather see a neutered Obambi with a strong GOP Senate & House, than see the likes of McVain, Romney or Gingrich complete the job of driving us over the cliff with amnesty, Cap & Trade, Card Check etc and fundamentally cement ObamaCare with minor, minor tweaks and rename it after themselves.

Come on y’all know they’re are just itching to be bi-partisan and have the MSM show some love. They don’t give a rat’s patootie about everything that made America exceptional.

AH_C on May 23, 2011 at 11:42 PM

eeyore on May 23, 2011 at 11:35 PM

Exactly what he did today.

Schadenfreude on May 23, 2011 at 11:42 PM

Exactly what he did today.

Schadenfreude on May 23, 2011 at 11:42 PM

And I respect him for it…to an extent.

But he still gave an opinion on something he was, by his own admission, ignorant about.

So I don’t like that he didn’t know what it was, especially after Friday…and I don’t like he supplied an answer when he didn’t know what he was talking about. And his answer was completely wrong.

powerpro on May 23, 2011 at 11:49 PM

I don’t know why AP mentions Palin in the post when he clearly doesn’t want to really hear from or is just too annoyed with Palin supporters in the first place. It’s like he’s baiting people then getting pissed when they bite.

Yeesh.

Anyway, Cain is not looking so good, but the non-answer on ME policy was the worst. Like Allah said, how the hell could they talk about it in the debates? Just skip it?

Dongemaharu on May 23, 2011 at 11:51 PM

AP, your biases are so flagrant they are breathtaking. like you didn’t complain when Palin didn’t answer Bush doctrine to you satisfaction. Now you are blaming the Palin supporters again for Cain’s flub. If Cain’s flub isn’t anything then Palin’s was not much of an error and you have to apologize.

promachus on May 23, 2011 at 11:54 PM

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